first responders
June 29, 2019

Luis Alvarez, a retired New York Police Department bomb squad detective who fought for ailing 9/11 first responders before Congress, died on Saturday at a hospice in New York. He was 53.

Earlier in June, Alvarez, who developed cancer years after working at Ground Zero, delivered what The Washington Post called a "heartbreaking plea to Congress" to extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which provides financial assistance to first responders who developed illnesses.

Alvarez appeared on Capitol Hill alongside former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, another prominent advocate for the fund, on the eve of his 69th round of chemotherapy.

"I should not be here with you, but you made me come," he said during the hearing. "You made me come because I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11 like me are valued less than anyone else."

Alvarez is survived by his wife, three children, mother, and two brothers. Tim O'Donnell

January 31, 2018

After the train carrying Republican lawmakers to their annual retreat in West Virginia collided with a garbage truck Wednesday, crushing the front of the vehicle, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) sprang into action. Unfortunately, it wasn't the first time the pair has had to act quickly in an emergency situation — both were involved in the heroic rescue of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) when he was shot during a congressional baseball game practice last year.

Wenstrup is a former Army combat surgeon, and Flake, although without formal medical training, has never been one to shy away from a person in need. The pair responded, along with physician Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and assisted the critically injured garbage men in the vehicle hit by the train. One of the men later died.

"We've been through this before," Flake told CNN, adding: "It's all too similar." Listen to him discuss the accident below. Jeva Lange

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